If a picture is worth a thousand words, six seconds of video ought to be plenty for anyone used to expressing themselves in 140 characters or fewer.
That's the principle behind Vine, a new video sharing app launched by Twitter following its acquisition of New York start-up Vine Labs last October.
The app allows users to create and share ultra-short, looping videos on Vine itself, Twitter or Facebook. When embedded in tweets, clips play automatically. Through FourSquare, users can add locations to their clips.
"Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger," says Vine co-founder and general manager Dom Hofmann. "They're little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They're quirky, and we think that's part of what makes them so special."
The move is a recognition that text alone is becoming increasingly sidelined. And with Instagram recently turning off Twitter Card integration, meaning Instagram photos could no longer be embedded directly into a user's stream, a lot of the visual appeal of the site disappeared.
There were some slight problems at launch yesterday, with some users findong that their tweets were being posted to other users' accounts. Vinew pulled the ability to share vodeos to Facebook and Twitter for a short period, and now seems to have fixed the problem.
The app is currently available only for iOS, although it's expected to appear on other platforms in the coming months. It's available free from Apple's App Store.